The Association between Flourishing and C-reactive Protein Levels in Aging Adults: A Cross-Sectional Study Open Access

Sharp, Misha Nicole (2016)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/vm40xr88v?locale=en
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Abstract

Background: The research available indicates that elderly populations display higher levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), increased prevalence of cardiovascular disease and higher levels of flourishing mental health. While the association between flourishing and CRP level has not yet been studied, research would suggest that constructs with overlapping measures, like positive affect, have positive correlations with successful aging and longevity for older adults. Flourishing may have important implications for increased positive psychological wellbeing, and in turn, lowered measures of inflammation like CRP that affect future risk of cardiovascular disease.

Objective: This study examines the association between flourishing and CRP in three different age groups, 20-39 year olds, 40-59 year olds and those 60 and older.

Methods: A secondary analysis of cross-sectional data from the Predictive Health Institute's Center for Health and Wellbeing 2009 cohort was used in order to conduct linear regression models to examine the association between flourishing and CRP. Models were stratified by age group and adjusted for demographic characteristics as well as biological variables and health behaviors.

Results: There was a significant association between flourishing and CRP for adults aged 60 and older, even after adjustment for education, income, race and gender. Associations for flourishing and CRP were non-significant for younger and middle-aged adults and the flourishing by age interaction was significant at p= 0.0116. Body mass index, physical activity and smoking status were important predictors of CRP regardless of levels of flourishing.

Discussion: These analyses found that flourishing is significantly associated with CRP for the oldest group in this cohort, those 60 and older. This suggests that the relationship between cardiovascular health and mental health may be more important for maintaining the physical health of senior adults.

Table of Contents

Introduction………………………………………………………………………………..2

Rationale………………………………………………………………………..…2

Purpose of Study…………………………………………………………………..4

Objective and Research Questions………………………………………….……..4

Assumptions…………………………………………………………………….…4

Literature Review………………………………………………………………………….5

Aging and Mental Health……………………………………..…………………...5

Positive Psychology…………………………………………………………….....6

Flourishing …………………………………...…………………………...7

Demographic Differences in Flourishing……………………………….....8

Cardiovascular Disease and Distribution……………………………………….....8

Cardiovascular Biomarkers………………………………………………..9

Positive Psychological Wellbeing and Inflammation……………………10

Summary…………………………………………………………………………11

Methods…………………………………………………………………………………..12

Target Population and Sample Participants……………………………………...12

Procedure………………………………………………………………………...13

Measures…………………………………………………………………………14

Mental Health Continuum-Short Form…………………………………..14

Beck Depression Inventory………………………………………………15

Demographics……………………………………………………………16

Body Mass Index………………………………………………………...16

Physical Activity…………………………………………………………17

Smoking Status…………………………………………………………..17

C-Reactive Protein……………………………………………………….17

Data Analysis………………………………………………………………..…...18

Results……………………………………………………………………………………19

Discussion………………………………………………………………………………..22

Strengths and Limitations……………………………………………………......23

Future Research………………………………………………………………….24

Conclusions………………………………………………………………………………24

References…………………………………………………………………………...…...25

Appendix………………………………………………………………………………....28

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